|12,000 miles. First taste of freedom|
|Ginger and Baby Beard|
October 1, 2011 was the end of my 8 year enlistment in the Marine Corps, a day that seemed unattainable for so long. I was free from rules, regulations and boundaries, the time was now and the world was my oyster. I felt like I needed to explore and travel to as many different regions of my own country, after all, I did spend 1/3 of my life fighting for it and up to this point had never strayed too far from the east coast. I packed up all my belongings (which wasn't much) and headed west in my 1983 VW camper. My Bus had all the accommodations, two beds, stove burners, a closet, a sink and plenty of storage so gas and food were my only expenses. I figured no plan was the best plan, only to make the biggest loop possible around the country and in late September I began this new chapter with an openness I've never felt before.
Due to the time of year I was departing, a more Northern route seemed like the best way to begin before winter rolled through. With a road atlas by my side, I left Maine heading through the mountains into New Hampshire. So many oddities along the way, finding myself touring a maple syrup farm, an albino taxidermy museum and a house made of license plates in Vermont. Every day I was exploring a new place and meeting new people, following my bliss proved to be very enlightening. Crossing over into New York, a small town Fall harvest and music festival near the Adirondacks attracted my attention. Although it had been a dreary weekend, I met some wonderful people, listened to some great local music and even Ginger had some friends there! Also a few of my friends from back home just happened to be on their way to Rome, NY and came by for the weekends festivities. At this point in time I still believed in coincidences...
Come Monday morning I had Rochester, NY in my sights to visit my friend Kaitlin and hit up a Keller Williams and Primus concert! I can't say I enjoy the fast paced city life but I did have a great time there. If you've never experienced Keller Williams live I highly recommend it. The venue was an old structure built in 1905 called "The Main Street Armory" it was a castle-like fortresses with soaring towers and served as the headquarters for Western New York’s 3rd Battalion during the civil war. In the early 20th century, the 35,000-square-foot main arena (designed originally for drill exercises) hosted circuses, concerts, balls, and auto shows..Needless to say both shows were unbelievable. Kaitlin also brought me on a tour of the Mount Hope cemetery.
|U.S. observation deck|
I had found a nice spot to camp out that evening at a quiet boat landing area just south of Niagara, although I did have a visitor around 11:00pm from a local police cruiser but I believe my "Veteran" plates detoured him from investigating any further and he went on his way.That next morning I was heading down I90 alongside lake Erie and onward into the Buckeye State.